Tea Time Recipes

Victorian Days

Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford is credited with creating afternoon tea sometime around 1840, to alleviate afternoon hunger (the upper classes commonly had their dinner late, between 8:00-9:00 p.m.

A Victorian tea menu consisted of finger sandwiches (cucumber sandwiches were a common feature), and assorted sweets such as scones, cakes and other pastries. Beverages included teas and lemonade.

To accompany the tea, lemon slices, cream and sugar were placed on the table. Victorians enjoyed their tea in cups of the finest porcelain.  Popular patterns featured delicate flowers, animals and other objects from nature. 

The recipes featured on our website are a mix of traditional recipes and modern adaptations. On Sunday, August 9th, we will be posting a video of a tea reenactment. We encourage you to recreate these recipes and join along at home!   



Open Face Cucumber Dill Sandwich

Egg and Watercress Salad Sandwich

Banana Sandwich




Strawberry Tarts

Photo: "Tea time." by AnnaEA is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Additional Activity: Baking Challenge

While the recipes were considered clear and concise by the standards of the day, many would be difficult for a modern cook to follow. Below is a recipe dating from the 19th century, try translating the recipe below into something that could be used in a modern kitchen.

Cream Cakes

Photo: "Scones with strawberry jam and clot" by babe_kl is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


Following proper tea etiquette was very important, as you would not want to make a bad impression in front of your host and other guests. There is a long list of etiquette covering how to pour the tea, how to hold your teacup, how to eat the food and how to stir the tea. However, for brevity's sake we've included a small list of some basic rules to follow:  

1) Be gentle stirring your tea and avoid clinking the spoon against the inside of the cup.

2) Despite what you see on t.v. and in the movies, never raise and sip from your cup with your pinkie extended.

3) When you pick up your cup, the saucer remains on the table.

Starting Sunday, August 9, watch as a reenactor presents an online Etiquette of Tea lesson here.